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What to Wear: The Hostess With the Mostest

For those of you have hosted a holiday soiree, you know it can be stressful. Why? Well, it's not just the guest list. It's not just getting the food and drinks right and making sure you don't linger too long on any one group of people. It's the situation that happens, after you've been at it for about an hour, when you realize that what you thought was the perfect look turned out to be a mistake — a big one.

Your strapless bra is falling down, the spaghetti straps are, too. Your feet are DYING in those crazy (but stunning) six-inch heels. Your hosiery has a run. And while duchesse satin is beautiful, it's binding you like a straight jacket — you couldn't bend over to pick up that fallen canape if your party's success depended on it. But is it possible to get more out of your look? Something classy, yet wearable? With a little planning, yes.

We pulled together four standout examples of hostess outfits that are just darling or sexy or artistic or bold, whatever you please. What they aren't is restrictive or uncomfortable, allowing you to be the social butterfly all night long. Think of these basic rules as you view:

Don't go shorter than mid-thigh.
Shift and A-line dresses are your friend, so is Lycra.
Go for LDs that allow you to wear a bra with at least one strap. Make sure your straps won't fall.
Wear sensible party shoes. Try a squared off heel and a shallow pitch (that's the angle of the sole).
If you're going to cover those gams, go for black opaque tights; they wear well, are flattering and cover.

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